Western Dominion Collieries, Page 1

Taylorton, Saskatchewan, Canada

Western Dominion Collieries Ltd.- Page 1

Brand Name: Dominion

Mined by: Western Dominion Collieries Limited
aka: Taylorton Mine
Taylorton Saskatchewan

1940 map showing mineral rights allotted to Western Dominion Mines
Maps showing the location of this big mine
from the 1955 book

Dec 1933 Map of the “Big 5” Coal Mines near Bienfait

Located at 4-2-6 W. 2nd
This mine was situated on a mine spur off the Souris Branch of the CPR., about five miles from Bienfait

Union 1950-1959- Saskatchewan Coal Miners' Union

Deep Seam Shaft Type Mine
Shafts as deep as 90 feet down were dug in the era

Located just NE of Taylorton Cemetery
The First Commercial Coal Mine in the District started near this location, shortly after 1880 By George Pocock of Emerson MB. & his brother, Sir Sydney Job Pocock, of London England Sydney & George Pocock

Hugh McKay Sutherland from Winnipeg, was the first to mine the coal here, with a 70 ft tunnel.

In Oct 1923 Hugh Sutherland was the President of Western Dominion.

The first mine in this area was at Roche Percee in 1891
The Hassard Mine was its name, owned by Hugh Hassard
Later to become the Souris Coal Company Mine, with a 8ft coal seam
This mine was sold to the John Taylor family of Winnipeg, and renamed Western Dominion Collieries Ltd. in 1905.

2nd largest Mine in 1931.
Managed by Charles Campbell Morfit in 1931

Changed to Western Dominion Coal Mines Ltd., owned or controlled by J. R. Brodie ca 1939.
Bought in 1964 by Mannix Corp out of Calgary along with it's holding company, Great West Coal of Brandon, that Mr. Brodie, would have owned or controlled.
Became Battle River Coal Mine Co Ltd.
Operating in 1917, at 3-2-6 W2.

Oct 1, 1924 this Company was one of the sponsors of the First Air Mail flight in Saskatchewan, from Estevan to Winnipeg.

Mine Survey Map 1 .pdf

Mine Survey Map 2 .pdf

Mine Survey Map 3 .pdf

Mine Survey Map 4 .pdf

Mine Survey Map 5 .pdf

Mine Survey Map 6 .pdf

Mine Survey Map 7 .pdf

some of these look the same but were separate files, so added them as I see them

Mine Plan, Documents, and maps above, copied from Original Documents, held by Saskatchewan Government, Mines Branch, Regina,
Acquired by Richard (Dick) Wright, P. Eng, and contributed by Mr. Wright for viewing here.
He was assured they were Public Documents, and Web Use allowed.

June 24, 1907 Company letterhead
courtesy Rob Taylor, Great-Grandson of Richard Ratcliffe Taylor Sr.

This was the location of Taylorton

First managed by Andrew Miller, then Sam Holley, then Ed Pierce Jr. (See Eastern Collieries of Bienfait Ltd for Pierce Family info)

In 1918 at the start of the Lignite Utilization Board trying to form the Char Briquetting Plant
it was a subsidiary of the Trustees Corporation Ltd., London, England

Mar 1919

April 7, 1928
Western Dominion Collieries Ltd. had their office in Winnipeg MB at #305, Winnipeg Trust & Loan Co. Building, Portage Ave.

Part of the Big Six, time of Sept 29,1931 riot

2nd largest Mine in 1931.

Mine Managers / Executives:

Mr. Caleb Cox Symons (1847-Apr 28, 1933) was Manager of this mine
buried in Estevan City Cemetery

Managed by Charles Campbell Morfit
He was an American, who had experience in the Pennsylvania USA coalfields. He was Manager in 1931 during the Strike-Riot, and one of the real problem Managers,
bringing in a dozen farmer scabs to run the mine. The Local RCMP Sgt, was quoted as saying Morfit was to blame for the strike, and he was using it as an excuse to cover up
the mistakes he made on investing in the Char Plant, and with a strike, his superiors could accept financial loss, due to a strike, rather than him loosing his job.
From the Wylie Commission C.C. Morfit, a partner in the firm of “Stuart, (Stewart?) James, and Cooke” of New York,
the largest concern of consulting engineers and efficiency experts in the world.
Mr. Morfit came in April, 1930 to take charge of Western Dominion Collieries mine and briquetting plant, his firm having been retained by the British shareholders of the company.
This firm was heavily involved in Russian Coal Mines as well, Here we have this firm making deals and money from “Communists” in Russia,
then with the other owners and managers in the district, complaining of “Communist” influence in the mines here.
He was leader of the South Saskatchewan Coal Operator's Association in 1931
in 1938 he was being asked to partake in a study of Lignite in Greece for the Germans.
in 1916 he was Superintendent of the J. B. B. Coal Company, at Twin Branch, West Virginia
Charles Campbell Morfit, lived in Cabell, West Virginia in 1920
Charles Campbell Morfit
b- July 16, 1881, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
d- June 29, 1960 in Columbus Ohio, USA
married June 6, 1906 in Fairmont, Marion Co, West Virginia, USA
wife- May Manley Morfit, nee Hall,
b- May 4, 1883 in Marion Co., West Virginia
d- July 8, 1960, Columbus Ohio, USA
2 Children
son- Charles Campbell Morfit (jr.)
b- June 2, 1907, Wilsonburg, Harrison Co., West Virginia
d- Feb 13, 1970, in Mobile Alabama, USA
daughter- Sue Hall Morfit,
b- July 29, 1908, West Virginia
Charles Sr. Father- Charles McLean Morfit,
b- Sept 26, 1838, Washington, Dist of Columbia, USA
Charles Sr. Mother- Mary Elizabeth Fiske,
b- Dec 25, 1850, Washington DC
d- Oct 22, 1912

in Apr 1939 there was a Rector, the Rev. Charles C. Morfit Jr. performing a wedding in Baltimore Maryland. was this his son?
1941 Charles C Morfit Sr. had a shared Canadian patent CA 394614, titled- METALLIC ORE REDUCTION METHOD

My Earlier research:
C.C. Morfit
If you read the latest reports on the Strike and Riot in 1931, Mr. Charles Campbell Morfit is noted by Sgt. William Mulhall, a 55 year old native of Liverpool England,
who was a local member of the RCMP in Estevan prior to the Riot, as being the biggest problem in the district, actually in his opinion, encouraging a strike.
He had invested in the Char plant that was loosing money, and Mulhall figured he was covering up this mistake by causing a strike.
Mr. Morfit was an American, who had extreme ideas, which he brought with him from strikes in Pennsylvania, where strikes occurred, and the miners were literally mowed down, and he felt the same should happen here. Looks like he got his wish. He brought in a dozen strike breakers, deliberately looking to stir up trouble, and when the RCMP didn't step in, He and the mine managers and owners complained bitterly to the head of the RCMP, leading eventually to Detective-Staff-Sergeant Walter Mortimer, taking control of the local RCMP. By the way, other RCMP investigators at the time reached the same decision as Sgt Mulhall, so it wasn't just him that felt this way.
It has taken me a few years to finally pin this guy down, with new census etc. just recently released. Finally enough clues I found him.
All my Riot research, trying to find someone to blame for the 3 deaths, I can say now, I think Mr. Morfit has to be close to the top of the list. He wasn't in the area long, for a good reason. he probably had more than one threat on his life. He made his bed but didn't want to lie in it it seems.

Albert “Bert” E. Turner
b- Aug 1890 in USA
father- Robert Turner, b- Dec 1864, in Quebec
mother- J. Angus Turner, b- July 1868 in Scotland
siblings in 1911, Ruby, Francis, Agnus, and another Albert
1911 shown as a bookkeeper

Bert Turner took over in 1933, as Office Manager and Accountant in charge.
In 1944 he was Chartered Accountant for the Great West Coal Company in Estevan
ca 1906 he worked at the Consolidated Stationary Company in Winnipeg.
At a Federal Board of Conciliation June 17,1939, A. E. Turner, gave evidence as Secretary-Treasurer and General Manager of the Western Dominion mine.
John Robert Brodie of Winnipeg was President, and Arthur Harlan “Harold” Truax (1889-1963) was Vice-President

Bert Turner was succeeded by Kenneth Godfrey (Ken) John, (Jan 28, 1894 - Sept 4, 1993) who retired in 1965. Buried in Bienfait Cemetery.

June 12, 1947,
Frederick Harold Nord from Brandon, was Vice-President, and Director of Western Dominion Coal Mines Ltd.
he married Winnifred Augusta Spearin in Brandon MB, May 20, 1922

Charles Frederick (Chuck) Doerr
(July 11, 1912 - Nov 5, 1992)
was mine manager in Nov. 1948, per newspaper clip below.
Buried in Bienfait Cemetery.

Archie David Hawkes
1907- Feb 11, 1983
Became mine manager of Western Dominion Coal Ltd.
Buried in Souris Valley Memorial Gardens, Estevan

Sept 1956,
Donald S. I. Paterson, (Patterson?) President of the Western Dominion Coal Mines, Ltd., and also the parent company, Great West Coal Company.

Changed to Western Dominion Coal Mines Ltd.
Owned or controlled by the Attorney, John Robert Brodie, ca 1939.
Amalgamation of Western Dominion Collieries Ltd., Truax Traer Coal Co. Ltd., and Bienfait Mines Ltd., by J. R. Brodie, prior to 1939

The Saskatchewan Coal Miner's Union ended up representing the workers at this mine, and it was claimed by many, that this was a “Company Union”

Bought in 1964 by Mannix Corp out of Calgary along with it's holding company, Great West Coal of Brandon MB., that Mr. Brodie owned, or controlled.

Became Battle River Coal Mine Co Ltd.

This Mine had it's own Electric Power Station.
This in later years was acquired by the Dominion Electric Co., which continued to supply power to the coal companies in the area.

In 1937 the tipple burnt down at this mine
then I found this article below, which contradicts this date.

found an article Oct 1, 1936, that stated the tipple burnt down, last Sept (1935?), and replaced obviously in 1936,
Wed, Sept 30, 1936, 24 coal dealers, mostly from Regina, were given a tour of the new tipple, and underground mine.
They visited M&S, Bienfait Mine, and the Eastern Mine as well. tour sponsored by Great West Coal Co. Ltd. Regina,
conducted by Harry K. Dow (Regina), and Crawford McMillan Thomson of the company.
they were taken on a 1 mile long ride, 90 ft underground, on the electric Train used to haul coal for the hoist.
they discussed the lives of the horses underground. Information they were given was the horses were pastured for several months each summer
and health and eyesight was never a problem. they pointed out one horse was still doing light duties at age 24.

Per Ingrid Beahm most of the houses in the camp were covered with a stone Brick Asphalt siding. Including the store and school.
The larger company houses were covered in corrugated tin.
Her Uncle and Aunt bought a house there, for $1.00 and moved it to Bienfait.
The white houses were at M&S or possibly the Briquette plant.

Info below from a 1911 Mining Report

This Mine in 1911had a capacity of 1 000 tons per day and was one of the largest mines in the district.

Method of Mining-
The coal seam averaged more than 7ft. in thickness and was covered with 90 ft. of sand, clay and gravel.
The system of mining used is pillar-and-room.
The entrance to the mine is by a slope. Main entries were, 7 ft. 6 in. by 7 ft. 6 in., and were driven at right angles to the slope,
and the rooms were opened off the entry every 29 feet, centre to centre. The length of the rooms was 200 feet,
but every 400 feet parallel, main entries were driven, and the rooms were opened off from them, and driven to meet each other.
The rooms were driven ten in a battery, and as soon as a room was driven 200 feet, the pillar was sliced,
Longitudinally on the return. The slice varied from 3 to 6 feet in thickness, depending on the character of the roof.
The side entries were driven 6 ft. 6 in. wide.
The entry pillars, 20 feet wide, were also extracted.

The haulage system on the main levels was by electric locomotives operated by direct current at 150 volts.

The ventilation was induced by chimney and furnace.
No gas was detected in the mine and open lights were used.

Blasting Methods-
Chain coal-cutters were used for undermining the coal in the rooms, and black powder ignited by squib was used for blasting.
The shooting was done by the miners at any time. Clay, dug in the mine, was used for tamping the charge.

The entries were well timbered with sets every 5 ft.
The rooms were usually timbered with props only.
One prop was used for every 3 tons of coal mined.

Output- The following table gives the output of the mine from 1904 to 1910.

Yearly Output in Tons:

1904- 94.850

1905- 98,626

1906- 81,173

1907- 84,119

1908- 71,691

1909- 91,811

1910- 90.695

Preparation for Market-
Sixty per cent of the output was shipped as run-of-mine,
but about 9 per cent of the production was wasted
and burned on the prairie as slack coal was too fine to be marketable.

In 1916 this mine produced 91,843 tons of Lignite Coal
highest amount in the District

Oct 4, 1938,
135 men on strike at this mine, over a dispute between 2 rival unions at the time.

Nov 9, 1940,
Joseph Stepanski, President of the recently organized Miner's Union, was severely crushed, and received broken ribs,
He was pushing cars to the hoist, he was caught between 2 cars, when the signal to hoist wasn't given. He was taken to the Bienfait Hospital.

Nov 22, 1948,
During a strike in the district, of the other mines, this mine still produced it's 60% share of the coal mined in the district, prior to the strike, 6,000 tons/day.

Dec 8, 1945
All other mines in the district signed an agreement with District 18, United Mine Workers of America,
getting $1.00/day raise, plus 6 days paid vacation.
All but Western Dominion miners, who were under a different union.

Sept 28, 1922
John Williams, age 38, was killed instantly in the evening on this day, at this mine, when the charge he had fired the coal seam,
at which he was working, blew in the wall of the room, where he had retreated after firing the shot.
Read another article he was working with James Brown, and they both lit their fuses in Room 8, and were leaving the mine when John remembered he left his pipe in another near-by room
When he went back in the shots fired
He came from Wales, and left a widow and 2 children


  • Last modified: 2021/06/06 21:49
  • by dlgent